Any bass angler should be very familiar with Rat-L-Traps. These lipless, tear drop shaped beauties cast a mile and slice through the water with a tight wobble that attracts strikes time and time again. Today, I’ve provided you all with a breakdown of some of the best Rat-L-Trap color patterns for each season, so you can use the lures to their fullest potential year-round.
Since we’re currently in the middle of it, I’d say winter is a good place to start. While most of us really don’t have the option to fish during the winter, due to frozen lakes and freezing temperatures, anglers in the Southern regions can will want to look to colors that imitate crawfish this time of year. Crawfish are changing to a red/orange color in late winter, so using such colors, or even a crawfish pattern, is a smart choice.
Spring usually brings with it warmer water, showers, and rising water levels due to this increase in rain. Rising waters will muddy things up a little, so this is the time to use bright colors and Rat-L-Traps with an internal rattle to create some noise during the retrieve. Many of the lakes will be full of crawfish, a favorite snack for big bass, so be sure to tie a few crawfish patterns on. In shallow waters, brighter colors like chartreuse or white are great options. Bluegill and perch tend to congregate under docks and around the banks of the lakes, which means an endless food supply for any predator. Chartreuse or white Rat-L-Traps will mimic the colors of such fish very well. Also, shallow water baitfish are a little harder to catch and usually move quickly to avoid being eaten, so using a faster retrieve can trigger more strikes.
In the summer, action on the water will slow down drastically. With the water warming, fish will try to find a constant temperature zone, and points or flats that are close to deeper water will be where you’ll find them. Aside from offering cooler temperatures, these locations give them a great ambush point for unsuspecting shad that wander over the edge. Bass can lie in wait off a deep point and shoot upward and break into a school of baitfish without warning. This is a perfect scenario for a chrome Rat-L-Trap. It doesn’t really matter what chrome/color combination you use, but chrome is the way to attract slow-moving fish in this situation. Cast beyond the point and bring it across, then let it fall for a few seconds to entice strikes.
When fall comes around, the cold fronts and cooler temperatures usually mean feeding frenzies. Sensing the impending cold fronts, bass will gorge ahead of time to store energy in preparation for long periods without abundant food. The water will now be clear from the lack of substantial rain during late summer, and shad will start to take on a different hue as more sunlight penetrates the clear water due to dying vegetation. There are Rat-L-Traps that come in shad patterns with variations of colors on the sides of lure and have white bellies with markings like a shad. These natural patterns are perfect for this time of year, along with light colors like pearl, bone, and white, which are also good producers in clear water, in general.
The color patterns outlined above, along with the situations where they’ll do the most damage, should help you capitalize when throwing a Rat-L-Trap. Not all of us will be able to fish, let along use a Rat-L-Trap, all year, but those of us who can will hopefully use them to bring in fish cast after cast.